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Getting close now

July 25th, 2009

A series of “last”s… A few days ago I entered the last state. Today I pedaled through the last capitol. Tonight I have been mapping the last legs. A friend on Ron Paul Forums asked if I was sad to be ending this trip. Truth is I am sad to have had to make it. While I remain optimistic, the fact that I felt the need to make such an ardurous journey speaks volumes. The country is at a crossroads. This great experiment in self-rule is being attacked by tyrants and if we don’t stop them now, there will be hell to pay.

I know that, eventually, liberty and justice will win. It always does. Liberty is the natural state of man and, as such, empowers us with a natural moral authority that tyrants can only dream of. Their temporary successes are lies built on lies. Like blowfish they puff themselves up to scare the meek, but the sea is big, they are small, and their ruse will only work for so long. Friggin tyrants…

Truth is, I feel sorry for them. I know that they too will face judgment and imagine they will be quite surprised to learn that the universe, and history, wont look kindly on them. This will be remembered as a dark time in America, and they will be reviled, like Benedict Arnold is now.

Sad.

But, no time for mourning their lost souls, their plans MUST be defeated, sooner rather than later. Each moment we let up on the pressure is one more moment a child will live under tyranny. And that is completely unacceptable to me. There will be plenty of time to pray for their souls after liberty has been restored and the next gen has been educated.

Anyway, it’s late and I have given up on mapping the last leg. Google maps and all the software in the world is not a match for California roads. I learned that today. There are reports of new bike paths that are not on the maps and will save me 20 miles. I found one today (not on any map) that was a breeze, unfortunately, the destination (this motel) was misplaced on the map and I pedaled 5 miles past it before calling and finding out I had to go back. (aarrrrgggghhhh) So, I’ve got a rough outline and a few reports to go on. I will stop at bike shops, and ask other bikers, as I approach. It worked today. Mostly farm roads, I’m avoiding heavily traveled ones. People drive pretty crazy out here… Maybe I’m just a bit jaded cause I spent most of the day in city traffic, but it was a bitch. Had a nice bike route for quite a while, but then got sucked into making a turn that was not on my map (to stay on the bike route), big mistake, ended up circling on endless one-ways to get to the capitol, but got there eventually.

It took a bit longer to find the Sheriff Office, but I did,

The gentleman I spoke to was alright, I couldn’t tell if he was just humoring me, but no matter, it’s a numbers game. I certainly have no illusions that my visits will be effective everywhere, immediately, but I know I have planted a fertile seed.Lately, when I give them the Constitution, I’ve been mentioning the bit about crime not changing and adding that the only people who are pushing to scrap it are tyrants who know it is in their way… I could tell he heard that…

As Coolidge said, “… perseverance and determination are omnipotent…”

pedal pedal…

🙂

Journal, Photos

The Sierras

July 24th, 2009

Not much to say about this. I absolutely love mountains, always have. Grew up close to the Catskills and was a serious rock-climber till I moved to Hawaii. I did have a great visit with a Deputy in this building,

When I left asking him to please pass the materials on, he said he would make it into a little gift pack and deliver it himself 🙂

I took an extra day in Tahoe, resorting and trying to catch up. Jumped in the lake, was amazing to feel the water after the desert. Leaving Tahoe I had a large climb then a looooooong downhill run. If I could have stayed on 50 it would have been glorious, but had to get off and onto navigate through Placerville to Green Valley Road (hilly, but mostly down). It was basically along the Pony Express route and that was kinda cool. Anyway, it was a 96 mile day (with a full load) to the west side of Folsom, where I sit right now.

Here are the pics

I came on this sign

which is the second one (saw one on the RP ride in Louisiana) which kinda hits my funny bone.

was stoked to reach the top

where I rested in the shade of a towering pine

Then started down to the lake where some nice Asian tourists asked to take a pic with me, then asked if I wanted them to take one of me on my cam

I pitched a cute lady cyclist (sorry no pic) and continued on finally reaching CA, the final state

The climb to Echo Summit had some tight sections

I just kept pedaling and finally made it

And from then on, (except for a climb to Pollack Pines) was all downhill.

I descended over 7000 feet in the course of the day (there is a massive waterfall in the above pic)

I laughed at this sign

One of the stores I stopped in was fun. I asked if I could leave some fliers, he said sure, when I came back in with them he was relieved when I showed him the F2F and Obama Deception vids. He said, “Great, this will go over well around here, I was hoping you weren’t going to bring in some pro-Obama garbage…” haha

Anyway, was long day so I did not take all that many pics. Today I will go through Sacramento and onto Davis (The Bike Capitol of the US). Then a 50+ mile ride to Vallejo where I will take the Western Express trans-con bike route into SF  (a ferry – hahahahhha) The locals have been quite adamant that taking the cart the long way into town is both dangerous, and stupid, for a cross country cyclist. “Take the Western Express, dont risk a problem this close to your destination, tha Napa/Golden Gate run is not worth the risk”

It is always good to heed the advice of locals and must say that I don’t mind the shorter distance. So tonight, Davis. Tomorrow Vallejo, and then Alcatraz. Right on schedule

🙂

pedal pedal

Journal, Photos

The Nevada Desert Pt 5

July 24th, 2009

OK, it is time to leave the desert. Mapping my way into SF is taking a long time and cutting into my blogging time.

After the 104 mile day into Hawthorne I had a short (haha) 50 mile pedal to Yerington. It included a long climb, here is the top, with Dave smiling out the window at my comments on this last fairly steep bit

The best part of this day was pedaling through a Paiute Reservation and meeting/chatting with a native artist. I have traveled enough to know that when entering a different country/culture to be very respectful. As I pulled up to a trading post I saw him sitting in the shade, drawing.  I simply nodded a greeting as I pulled up, he answered with a classic native accent, “I don’t know how you cyclists do it”  I smiled and said, “we just keep pedaling”. As I was going into the store I asked if I could buy him a drink. He said, “no beer for me”. I said, “Wasn’t thinking beer, would you like a water, or soda or something?. He said, “I would like a small Pepsi, please”. So I brought him one. We chatted for a while about desert crossing and routing. He was happy to learn that Dave was with me, “very good, very smart. The desert can be very dangerous”  I was not interested in giving him the whole spiel as I did not know how much he felt to be an “American”. So I gave him a card and a short version of my mission. He knew all about Alcatraz and its history. We chatted some more and I started to take my leave. As I was getting the bike ready a car with tourists pulled up, so I gave them the whole spiel. My new friend was obviously listening because as I got ready to go again he said, “Hoy!, come.” I went over and he said, “I would like to give you a gift” He then took off his hat and gave it to me. I can’t tell you how overwhelming this small act was to me.  A hat is a valuable thing in the desert, and this one was hand decorated. He literally gave me the hat off his head. Tears welled up in my heart, (as they are now as I write this.) He looked at me with the kindest eyes and said, “I am a Christian, and I go to church, and I am also a spirit dancer, according to the old ways, I will pray for you. Have a safe journey across our lands, and beyond, any of my people who see your hat will know you have a blessing.”  I don’t know if this simple description can relate how that made me feel…

So, with that, seeing as he had no hat, I offered him mine. He graciously accepted and with smiles on both parts, we parted company. Thank you, my nameless friend. I treasure your gifts…

Pedaling on into Yerington was pretty uneventful. We stayed the night and stopped at the sheriffs leaving town the next AM. The undersheriff was very attentive and appreciatve of the visit. (Dave was funny, as we were going in, “…I speak their language” – haha – and he does 🙂 )  It really was neat visiting Sheriffs with Dave, certainly increased my credibilty…

The receptionist was listening in as well and got up to see the RP book, both were very interested, and thankful. A great stop. And to top it off, I got my 5th star (unsolicited) from him, so I guess the sheriffs I have met have given the ride 5 stars – A 5 star ride – hahhahhahhaha

With that it was off to Carson City. The wind in the afternoon was particulary brutal and I was stoked to reach town where a mysterious donor had gotton us a nice room at a place I would normally not have stayed. Dave had arranged a dinner with a local deputy he knew and we ahd a great meal and time. On the way out I said the line about “how people will wonder why we didn’t do anything, like history looks at the Germans”. That hit home, he looked at me and said, “good point”.

The next day, Dave and I had to part company. While he was hoping to stay with me till at least Sacramento, he had surprise visitors at home and had to go. I can’t say enough about this kind man. Everyone I met who knew him saw it as perfectly normal that he would go out of his way to help someone. It is just his nature. A more honorable, kind and generous man I have rarely (if ever) met. Thanks doesn’t quite do justice for what he did for me. He made a very dangerous section of the road much safer and infinitly more pleasant. God bless you, Sir. Aloha

Then, with a full load, I pedaled into the mountains…

onward…

Journal, Photos

The Nevada Desert Pt 4

July 23rd, 2009

Tonopah to Hawthorne – 104 miles. Longest distance to date, of both trips. Started out great. 24 miles of mostly downhill cruising. Two problems with that is that, until I reach the coast, there is always another hill to climb on the far end of each downhill, and the heat in the valley flats is intense.

At the bottom are drylakes

where I watched a mairage shift for miles and got this pic

It was kinda mesmerizing. At times I could see the peaks behind reflected.

I saw some feral burros

Came across a most unusual sign (with a story behind it)

There actually is a lobster farmer in the Nevada Desert. And that’s kinda the beginning of the story. You gotta love this guy. From the article,

A lifelong resident of the Mina area, Eddy raised cattle for decades. Tired of federal rules and boom-and-bust market prices for beef, the 59-year-old went searching for a new career seven years ago.

He found he could sell lobster for $14 a pound. Just as important, nobody in the federal or state government had dreamed up regulations to hinder such an endeavor.

We had lunch at his place; at this time, the state has figured out a way to “regulate” him and his operation is temporarily shut down. He said an interesting thing about tyrants, “They may control the cities, but the country is much bigger than that, and the redneck rules the hinterlands.”  And that is why I think it is so important to bring the solutions we have out there…

Anyway, if you notice in the last pic, clouds were moving in a a storm was brewing. While the clouds provided cool shade, the storm brought strong winds which made the rest ofthe day quite… interesting. I dodged this duststorm

which went into the mountains

These things can be quite ominous… I pedaled through one and the wind was buffeting me around like a balloon on a rollercoaster. Everytime I saw a new squall approaching I would grit my teeth, brace myself, and pedal into the maelstorm. To say the least I was stoked to finally see Hawthorne (and Walker Lake – not a mirage) in the distance.

And it looks like the desert will need one more post to finish…

pedal pedal

Journal, Photos

The Nevada Desert Pt 3

July 22nd, 2009

I’m glad I waited till I was out of the desert before finishing reflecting on it. While researching routes I ran across an account where an Aussie was going W>E and saw a cyclist coming the other way who met his greeting with a blank stare… While Dave kept me from being reduced to such a state, days in that bleak, forbidding heat can easily color ones observations unnecessarily negative.

I remain in awe of the early pioneers; explorers, mountain men, 49’ers. I just can’t imagine heading into such desolation with no roads, etc.. The great unknown… I am fascinated by the remains of trails and railbeds that follow the modern strip of asphalt that led me, imagining the type of folk who have passed this way through history.

The Beatty to Tonapah run was long, but (for the most part) cooler than the day before. There were two valleys that got very hot, but was climbing into cooler temps (120 or so on the road side) the whole day.

I got to the top of this summit after 60 miles or so. And looked down on another hot valley with another summit in the distance. But what this valley had that the other had not, was the really cool old town of  Goldfield, NV.An old mining town that, at it’s height, was the most populated place in NV. It has since shrank, and the ruins are everywhere, but it is not a ghost town by any means and had some great visuals.

If I was on a pleasure cruise I would have stayed and (with a better still cam) would have taken lots more photos. Still wondering what this thing is/was…

We found this place:

and absolutely had to stop in

bring them some literature and have a frosty cold beverage

The place had been open since 1905 and the original owner was killed in a gunfight. Jack Dempsey and Virgil Earp had stayed there, and we would have too, had the internet been up (or even if I had cel service). But alas, no connection at all, so after one cold one, I saddled back up for a 26 miles slog across another hot valley and up another large hill, to Tonapah, where we spent a fairly un-eventful night getting ready for the 104 mile day between towns to follow.

to be continued after I get some grub…

One more pic though. Here is Dave and I trying to figure out how the timer function works on his new camera – haha

pedal pedal

Journal, Photos

The Nevada Desert Pt2

July 20th, 2009

What can I say about the heat? It was intimidating, oppressive, and perhaps un-bearable in other circumstances, but these are the circumstances I faced and in order to succeed, must be born. KInda like the rising police state which inspired this ride. In the beginning the sheriff offices were intimidating, but after a while became less so. Same as the heat. It kinda spooked me when I saw the thermometer top 130 (shade). That meant I was pedaling in about 150 degrees… O.M.G.

But what could I do? Giving up while I can still walk is not an option. Yes, it would have been easy to say to Dave, ‘This is too dangerous and just too much, lets load up the bike and drive to the next town.”  But the thought never entered my brain. It wasn’t the challenge, it wasn’t pride, I don’t think it was stupidity, it was simply what I set out to do, and shirking due to fear or discomfort is not the way to win a r3VOLution. To win we must push ourselves past where we thought our limits might be (and by doing so most find that their limits are not so easily found, and the strength of voice such activism empowers is well worth the discomfort)

150 degrees…

I won’t ever do that again, if I can help it. And if I do, I’ll be even better prepared.

More pics…

A vast emptiness…

But not completely empty.  There are ghost-towns

and burros

and very expensive places to stay

The curiousity, and thought of AC, kept tempting me to stop in, (but I pedaled past…)

There are also, other wanderers

I pedaled up on Dave and this gentleman during the hottest part of the day. This pic was after Dave gave him the hat, white shirt, sunglasses, and water. He was dressed in heavy Carhart type gear (including an insulated vest), was pedaling a bike from Twin Falls, ID. to his camp in… Death Valley. Amazing… When Dave found him he was walking his bike due to the rumblestrips and seemed on his last legs. Dave, being the kind and helpful person he is, set him up for the next 30 miles to Beatty  After we parted Dave mentioned to me his mother telling him, “be careful how you treat people, you may be entertaining an angel”  Then I pedaled on.

to be continued…

pedal pedal

🙂

Journal, Photos, Uncategorized

The Nevada Desert Pt 1

July 19th, 2009

A perilous place, especially in summer. Relentless sun and baking wind. Craggy and blackened ridges, stark, tortured. One can almost imagine Frodo and Sam, lost.  Hills, once verdant seamounts, now crumbling into featureless dunes. Sandy flats, where the heat soars and the vast emptiness stretches on. Awfully awesome, I’m very glad the worst is behind me.

Two days of skirting Death Valley, (a well named place.) I covered over 180 miles in those two days, in temperatures topping 150 degrees.

That’s kinda warm… no haha.

The first day from North Vegas to Beatty was absolutely brutal. Headwinds and narrow shoulders, with a hellish rumble strip.I rode on the road as much as I could, but that can get quite tiresome as I must always be aware of what is in front, and behind, contantly craning my neck for a quick look and snapping back to see I’ve drifted into the rumble strip. Or the traffic coming both ways would see me have to cross the divets to a narrow strip where one wheel of my cart would ride the edge of the desert and the other would chatter through them. Or the final few miles where even narrower sections saw me riding the bike itself through the nightmare. In the bright sun. Being rattled to pieces. And baked…

I can easily see how quickly madness and death could trap a person out there. I would look with longing at some shade on a distant ridge… I saw a little patch of shade from a small sign, barely enough to curl up in, and thought, maybe I should take a rest… NOT!. Get the heck off the road and out of the heat, ASAP… As careful as we were, it was still not the safest thing in the world to be doing…

Here is how I dealt with the heat. Long sleeve white shirt that a supporter from KC helped me get at a GoodWill in MO. White Hat that Dave had bought me, with a thin towel under that I would soak occasionally.

A Mister/Fan in my handlebar bag that I could lean forward and get a blast from.

And lots, and lots, of water.  It was amazing feeling the cooling effect of the longsleeve shirt, the moist towel on the head was critical, and the mister heavenly.

One thing about being out in the desert, people are curious and know that I’m serious about my mission. Had a few people stop to give me water and ask about the ride. Can’t find the pic for that at the moment, and have to get on the road. I’ll break this post up into parts so I can keep them coming. The long days make it a bit harder to get the posts out.

Here is the bike, a speck in the empty vastness

pedal pedal

Journal, Photos, Uncategorized